In the late 90s, Cameroon was ranked among the most corrupt nations in the world according to the global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.
A reputation not fit for a country striving to create bilateral relations in the economic and political sphere.
Many blamed the high rates of corruption on government officials who are void of the concept of the superior interest of the nation and instead motivated by personal uses and gains.
Neopatrimonialism has always been named as one of the main causes of corruption in Cameroon.
With these standings, government had to go on the offensive in fighting the cancer of corruption in the country.
The President of the Republic, Paul Biya started investigations and squashing on government officials who were using their positions in government for self gratification.
Among his strategies to fight corruption was the creation of the National Anti-corruption Commission (CONAC).
The National Anti-corruption Commission was established by Decree No. 2006/088 on March 11, 2006 by the President of Cameroon.
Members of CONAC were appointed on March 15, 2007. The CONAC is a public independent body which comes under the direct supervision of the Head of State.
Its mission is to monitor and evaluate the effective implementation of the government’s anti-corruption programme.
The CONAC has a central structure with branches in almost all ministries. The CONAC has a coordinating and regulatory role in relation to the national anti-corruption policy framework in Cameroon. It has investigating capacities and has a mandate to gather and analyze allegations and information about corrupt practices. The findings of a CONAC inquiry can ultimately lead to disciplinary or legal proceedings.
Since CONAC went into operation, many investigations have opened, arrests made and a handful of government officials tried and sentence to serve prison term for corruption or misuse of power.
This and many more actions have contributed in building a reputable name for Cameroon and elevating it from the list of the most corrupt nations in the world.
According to a report by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, for the decade 2010-2020, Cameroon has recorded significant anti-corruption reforms and actions.
“The benefits are now palpable, both financially and behaviorally,” said the President of CONAC, Dr. Dieudonné Massi Gams.
Among the main consequences:
– Denunciations of corrupt practices increased from 482 to 23,048 in 2018, an increase of 4,682%,
– Billions recovered,
– Numerous public officials sanctioned,
– More than 300 companies suspended by the Ministry of Public Procurement .
These indicators are certainly encouraging, but CONAC is concerned about the intensification of the fight against corruption.
Apart from CONAC, the school system has been tailored in a manner that moral education is being dished to learners to create awareness of the dangers of the corruption conundrum.
What the Law provides against corruption
Cameroon’s Penal Code criminalizes corruption, bribery, extortion, and bribery of foreign public officials, and corruption is punishable by a prison term of five years to life, a fine and/or asset seizure.
Facilitation payments and gifts are also addressed in Cameroon’s legislation.
Bruno Ndonwie Funwie